Christmas gardening isn’t really winter gardening. It is set apart quite like the holiday itself. The Christmas garden might find itself lit up as we brave the cold to string lights on our bushes and along the eaves of the porch. Some of us can’t resist a few evergreen or berried prunings to “deck the house”. We temporarily forget about weeds, and work, and as we sit by our firesides where our dreams just grow bigger and bigger. Not of sugarplums, but plummy petunias, beds of fine lettuces, and borders of flower blooms all in a row, …none of it requiring the sweat and sore muscles that our more practical selves know only too well. It seems as though Christmas extends its candlelit glow to encompass even our garden in a soft focus glow of joy and good will.
We think more of our nature friends, the birds and scurrying creatures- leaving little feasts of sunflower seeds from warmer times and harvests. We might even be tempted to look on our thieving mice visitors with beneficent eye (almost, but not quite!). We certainly aren’t thinking of spading or mulching, no matter how open our ground might remain. We are on holiday, and basking in the best memories of gardens past.
Our gardens lay fallow, or at least undisturbed, and we take a little bit of well deserved rest from it, building up new spurts of creativity that will burst forth in January planning, catalogs, and the new year (along with all its resolutions to the end that this year’s garden will surely be one of the best).
So in all this rosy luminaria glow I have a few little tips to remember:
- If you tip prune evergreen branches many of them will stop growing at that point: i.e. pine and spruce
- Yews, hemlock, and arborvitae are forgiving, and will resume growth in the spring from any trimmings made now.
- Using salt on sidewalks can damage plants nearby, magnesium chloride is more friendly
- Keep your bird feeders filled
- Protect your poinsettias from drafts and try not to transport them with exposure to freezing temperatures ( place a bag over them get them from store to car to house as quickly as you can)
- Cut Christmas trees should have their base in water- don’t let them dry too quickly from an exposed base. Perhaps reuse the branches ofter Christmas to shelter garden beds.
Plants resistant to salt damage:
Perennials found to be especially resistant to rock salt included Sedum ‘Autumn Joy,’ Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’, creeping lilyturf (liriope muscari), Dianthus ‘Helen’, Hosta ‘Medio-Variegata’, America ‘Splendens’, sea lavender, two varieties of Artemisia (‘Silver Mound’ and ‘Powis Castle’) and two varieties of daylily (‘Cherry Cheeks’ and ‘Stella d’Oro’). ~Green Mountain Gardener